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  • Daniel Rodman

Intention

Updated: Jul 3, 2019

Intention is the beginning of any action. It is its seed. There are two dimensions to intention, intention that determines the neutral course of our physical actions, and the intention that determines the moral quality of our actions. The neutral intention merely describes the motivation for the actions you take as a mere fact, in a neutral sense. For example, I intend to put on my rain coat. This has no moral value in itself, but is merely the basis for an action. The moral dimension of that intention is that I have love for myself, and therefore I don't want myself to get cold and wet. Another example is when someone gives change to a beggar. The neutral intention for the physical action simply involves making movements to put change in your pocket into the beggars cup. The moral dimension is that you care about the beggar and wish to help him out. These two dimensions are two aspects of a single intention, but seen from grosser and subtler levels, the moral being subtler.

The neutral intention for the physical actions is the basis of all our action, it is the mere intention to do. It is not good or bad, it is simply potential energy. The moral dimension for intention, however, can be seen as good, bad, and anything in between. This dimension of intention is what is most spiritually significant. It is the basis from which we can judge actions to be selfish or benevolent, egoic or loving. In spiritual terms, this is the basis upon which our lives bear fruit. If we act with good intention, loving, compassionate, and so forth, we can expect it more likely that we will bear fruits in kind. Likewise, if we act with harmful intention, we can also expect to receive in kind. Mindfulness that recognizes the moral intentions of our actions is a primary practice in spiritual life, that we can refine our ability to be more loving and beneficial to the world around us. It is our moral intention that is the gateway to our own heaven or our own hell. This is an ultimately empowering fact of life. We are the masters of our own destiny. All helping hands aside, spiritual or otherwise, it is our moral intentions that manifests our destiny.

May you build your mindfulness of your intentions that you may know the writer of your destiny well, and steer the course like a loving shepherd of your own thoughts.

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